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Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge - Event

It's Go Time. Honda Tuning Magazine Vs The Import World

Oct 1, 2009
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper
Htup_0910_01_z+castrol_syntec_top_car_challenge+civic_side_view Photo 1/7   |   Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge - Event

Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge
In the August issue of Honda Tuning Magazine, we featured our pick for the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge. In just six pages, you got a complete rundown of what makes the Sportcar Motion '94 CX tick. Owner Loi Song is never one to keep a secret, and more than willing to share the intricacies of his little white hatchback. In the article, you read about the Kraftwerks supercharger and its ability to help spin to the wheels to well over 400whp. In naturally aspirated form, the car was scrappy. With the addition of boost, it was transformed into an all out monster. Instantaneous boost and massive amounts of useable torque were products of a well designed Rotrex supercharger and plenty of dyno time.

Weeks before the competition, Song and crew decided to track test the new set-up to gauge performance and reliability. A visit to Willow Springs (Big Willow) would be the best test bed and allow driver Tim Kuo a chance to put the hatch through its paces. After a short warm up, Kuo began pushing the car harder through the course. The huge leap in horsepower and torque was more than a handful, but Kuo was getting the feel and managing it well. He was finding his groove and things were going perfectly. That is, until the temperature gauge started climbing. "It was hot out there, maybe 106 degrees on the track. We monitored the temperature closely since we only had a small civic-size radiator. After a while, it was just running too hot, so we had to pull it off the track," Loi recalls. With very little time to complete the supercharger and test the car, along with running his shop, Song had no time to get a custom radiator made to work with the boosted motor. This meant that in order to compete with a reliable vehicle, he'd have to switch back to all-motor status. A K24/K20 powered hatchback, even in naturally aspirated form, is no slouch. The torque and horsepower combined with the feather light EH chassis is enough to drop a few jaws on a road course. However, the taste of boost showed Song that the car had the potential to be dominant, especially on larger tracks. However, this isn't just a road race event; it combines other competitive aspects as well. Honda reliability is a top priority for the distance challenge, where competitors have to drive along the Southern California freeways for two hours straight.

When the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge competitors all met up for the initial interview and photo shoot, Song got a good look at his competition. All wheel drive, turbo-powered performers and V8 forces were both more than willing to run circles around the $2,700 Civic. None of this worried Song, as he's grown accustomed to going against the grain. His friends thought he was crazy when he switched from driving a 9-second Mustang to running the San Diego freeways in a heavily modded '93 RX7. Those same friends thought about an intervention when he gave up the FD and started working on a front wheel drive car, his first Honda, a turbo powered Del Sol. Song adds "This is the type of competition that we like. All the odds are stacked against us, our backs against the wall; it's a chance for us to show the true potential of a well built Honda."

The competition includes drag racing, road racing, braking, horsepower, emissions, and street driving. We expected the Civic to do well in a few categories, and not so well in others. Though we'd love to spill the beans on what the car ran, and how it did against the other magazines, you'll have to wait until next issue. All of the categories and final numbers will be printed for the world to see. Until then, log on to and cast your vote for the Honda Tuning Magazine-Sportcar Motion Civic hatchback.

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